AlloTabib Introduces Online Doctors’ Appointments in Tunisia

Ralph Jalkh, Feb 25 2016

Since 2011, Tunisia has struggled to install new and wise economic policies, or provide employment opportunities to its growing population. Sluggishness in the economy has prompted many Tunisians to take the initiative and launch their own startup companies, igniting an impressive wave of civic entrepreneurship across the country.

Five years on, Tunisia’s startup scene has largely expanded, thanks to faster, freer Internet access, and advances in technology. Some startups have gone the extra mile and deployed products to mobilize communities and encourage civic engagement, filling the gap between government institutions and new technology platforms.

AlloTabib is one of those startups. the healthcare-dedicated website enables patients to find their doctor and book appointments online. It allows users to search for a doctor by name, specialty, and location. They can also select the suitable time and make the appointment online, thus facilitating the process.

Meet the Tunisian Entrepreneurs

AlloTabib was founded by Hamida Rebaï, a software engineer with an experience in software development in multinational companies in Tunisia.

Rebai explained that the idea of AlloTabib was inspired by a personal experience. Her father suffered from diabetes, and required constant visits to the endocrinologist. However, trying for weeks to book an appointment, and spending long hours in crowded reception areas waiting for their turn, became too frustrating.

“I decided to take matters into my own hands, and came up with a solution that could improve healthcare experience,” said Rebaï.

She worked shoulder-to-shoulder with her husband Mohamed Trabelsi,  a senior systems administrator, and her sister to develop the website, and launched it in 2015. She has been working on the web application of AlloTabib, as well as the mobile application for Windows OS; while her sister is in charge of the Android OS (iOS is also under development). Trabelsi is the administrator, ensuring that the website remains secure and available at all times, regardless of the number of connected users.

Quick, Easy Appointments for Patients and Doctors

To book an appointment using AlloTabib, patients simply visit the website, choose the type of specialist they need to see, and type the doctor’s name and location. The website then provides them with alternative healthcare providers that match their needs. Users can check doctors’ available times, learn more about their qualifications, and even see pictures of their clinics. After that, they click on an open time slot and follow the quick prompts to book their appointment.

“In Tunisia, more than 80% of doctors still use paper files to archive their patients’ information, or paper calendars to take appointments,” said Rebaï. “Doctors today waste valuable time as they go through all these files. Administrative tasks represent a third of their time, and taking appointments is their main challenge. AlloTabib solves all those problems,” she added.

Doctors have enjoyed AlloTabib’s services as they are more practical than writing the entire patient’s information on paper. Patients have also expressed their delight with the website, as they can electronically fill out forms, and have their charts automatically updated. They can also receive healthcare reminders by SMS.  

A Growing Community

Doctors and patients constantly provide reviews and feedback via email or on AlloTabib’s Facebook page. The Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, said Rebaï, with some users calling for an AlloTabib mobile application to be launched.

There are over 300 doctors registered with AlloTabib, with 700 more expected to join by the end of the year. The site features 81 clinics across Tunisia; 59 of them are located in the capital, while the others are dispatched across other districts.

The service covers 12 of Tunisia’s 24 districts, but Rebaï says that plans are underway to expand the business to new locations, based on demand.  

Unchallenged in Its Home Market?

The Morocco-based DabaDoc is AlloTabib’s main competitor in the local market. The service is available in 9 African countries, as well as in Pakistan, and is offered in English, French and Arabic (compared to AlloTabib which is only offered in French for now).

However, DabaDoc’s services in Tunisia are still at an early stage. Rebaï explained that DabaDoc’s strategy is to simply register doctors without any follow-up, which is why most Tunisian doctors opt for AlloTabib: “They can’t trust a website that is not located in Tunisia. They prefer having someone here to call and ask for training sessions.”

Plenty of Room for Growth

AlloTabib’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed. The healthcare service was selected to compete in the Arab Mobile Challenge 2016, and made it all the way to the regional finals in Algeria. The website was also selected for the Microsoft BizSpark Challenge, a global three-year program that helps startups succeed by giving free access to Microsoft cloud services, software, and support.

Advertising revenue is currently AlloTabib’s only source of income, but Rebai said they will integrate additional plans soon. These include new subscription packages for doctors, featuring blog posts and video advice.

Looking ahead, AlloTabib aims high. The owners are proud of where their ambition has taken them, but they realize there is still a long way to go. Rebaï wants to deploy additional technology to help people make better use of the healthcare system.

‘’In the future, AlloTabib will help pregnant women remember appointments with their gynecologist or labs for any medical analysis, while doctors can post their advice in relation to nutrition and all phases of pregnancy.’’

Rebaï sums up the purpose of her enterprise, ‘’With great passion for mobile development and a lot of ambition, I aim to change the way of living in Tunisia by using modern technology’’.

See related: MENA Health Apps Are on the Rise

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